- By: John Larison
- Illustrations by: Fred Thomas
2010 Robert Traver Fly Fishing Writing Award - Second Place
What was strange about that day, what caught Jim Mapleton off guard, was how hard he was working. At 59, he was no stranger to grief; he’d long ago learned how to pace the workday, how to parcel out his labor and save muscle for the next day. And yet here it was only noon and already his wrists were stiff, his elbows on fire, his shoulders wired with pain. Sweat soaked the front and back of his shirt, dripping from his brow and under his beard. He doused his baseball cap in the cold Oregon water and concentrated for a moment on the tendrils of river running down his neck.
- By: Greg Thomas
- Photography by: James Anderson
- and Greg Thomas
René Harrop has lived and breathed the Henry’s Fork fishery for decades. His company, House of Harrop, produces some of the leading flies for the area; he was a founding partner of Trouthunter, a top fly shop on the river; and his artwork, writing and overall philosophy of fishing have inspired and enlightened countless fly-fishers, on the Henry’s Fork and elsewhere. Harrop lives in Last Chance, Idaho. We caught up with him there.
- By: Darrel Martin
- Photography by: Darrel Martin
Cholo, my companion and knowledgeable fishing guide, called me for lunch. Might as well, since the Órbigo river ran low and we’d found only a few taciturn trout. Over cheese, nuts, fruit and wine, we spoke of fly patterns and the past. Several years ago, I had fished southern Spain, but now I was in Northern Spain, León’s ancient heart of fly- fishing. World-class rivers—including the Esla, the Porma, the Curueño, the Torio and the Órbigo—flowed not far from León.
- By: Chico Fernandez
- Photography by: Chico Fernandez
The most frustrating part of fishing the saltwater flats with a fly rod, especially for someone new to this part of our sport, is the casting. I find that most new fly-casters, and even some intermediates, don’t like to practice away from the water; they feel it’s too much work. And it is a bit of work, at the beginning, but once we bypass that entry-level stage with saltwater tackle, say to the intermediate and up levels, casting is no work at all. Rather, it’s pure pleasure. Personally, I love to cast.
- By: Dave Hughes
- Photography by: Dave Hughes
Big Indian Creek is a small stream that originates in a glacial basin on the flank of a mountain in far-eastern Oregon. It runs high into July, holds its water well through summer, and finally subsides to mildness in autumn of the average year. The water gets thinner then, which is true of nearly all streams, small or otherwise: if the source is anything but a stable spring or tailwater release, the water is lowest late in the season.
Kudo Awards 2011
- By: Greg Thomas
- , Buzz Bryson
- , Joe Healy
- and Ted Leeson
Except for the angler, a fly reel is the only piece of fly-fishing equipment with any significant moving parts, and those of us with a weakness for fine reels appreciate them in part as machinery. Some offer the finely tuned elegance of a Ferrari, others the classic, understated solidity of a Rolls or Bentley. Hatch reels are a little different: their engineering appears to derive largely from a Brink’s truck—a very handsomely crafted, precision-made, cleanly finished Brink’s truck, to be sure. But their philosophical core clearly owes much to the armored car.
- By: Greg Thomas
- Photography by: Joe Healy
If you ask Western anglers to paint the face of The Orvis Company, you might end up with an illustration of some stuffy Classics professor in tweed casting a bamboo rod on a manicured streambank, trying to lure some minuscule brook trout from the brush with 7X tippet and a standard Adams dry fly. Somewhere along the fly-fishing timeline, that’s the vision my hard-core Western friends and I developed. Fortunately, that stereotype got quashed a few years ago when I attended a trade show and met Tom Rosenbauer.
- By: Mike Conner
- Photography by: Mike Conner
After a full day of flats fishing out of Abaco’s Sandy Point, it was time for a much-anticipated Bahamian après-fishing ritual. Our group—Stu and Jeaninne Apte, Jean Cochran, Clint Kemp and me—huddled around the dining-room table and dove into piping-hot conch fritters with tall, chilled Mojitos in hand. Our host, marine artist and Black Fly Lodge Bonefish Club partner Vaughn Cochran, eventually joined us. He cleared off half the table and unrolled a white canvas.
- By: Jerry Gibbs
- Photography by: Jerry Gibbs
“First thing you got to know is that you never touch the fly line,” Jake Jordan tells his sailfish-school students. “If you keep touching it, then I go below deck and come out in my nun’s outfit and crack your knuckles bloody with a ruler.”
Back Into New Zealand
- By: Cathy Beck
- and Barry Beck
- Photography by: Cathy Beck
- and Barry Beck
New Zealand’s South Island is a trout hunter’s dream. In this land of big fish and gin-clear water, Kiwi guides tell you to forget large numbers of fish caught—it won’t happen here. There can be zero-fish days that are thrilling, as you may spend hours stalking a 10-plus-pound brown trout that refuses every offering until it finally “stiffens” as Kiwis say about fish that are off the feed. No matter; we’re here, after all, to test ourselves against the best trout in the world. A friend presented a perfect toast at the end of a New Zealand journey when he simply said “To the Everest of trout fishing.”